Buffalo Law Review

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James McCormick Mitchell Lecture


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This Essay introduces the 2011 James McCormick Mitchell Lecture, “From Nuremberg to Buffalo: Justice Jackson’s Enduring Lessons of Morality and Law in a World at War,” a commemoration of Jackson’s 1946 centennial convocation speech at the University of Buffalo. It discusses Jackson’s speech, breaks down its thematic components, and situates the distinguished Mitchell Lecturers’ responses to it in context. Unlike Justice Jackson’s commanding and historic opening and closing statements as U.S. chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Jackson’s 1946 speech, delivered just days after his return from Germany where he heard the Nuremberg Tribunal deliver its final judgment and verdicts, has largely been lost to historical memory. The Mitchell Lecture symposium — held on October 4, 2011, 65 years to the day from Jackson’s speech — was an attempt to restore that memory, providing an opportunity to assess Nuremberg through the eyes of Justice Jackson immediately after the event, while the images and experiences were still fresh in his consciousness. Long lost to history, the speech and its lessons deserve renewed attention today.